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There are many reasons why patients put off going to the dentist, and many stem from fears associated with dental anxiety. Persistent myths regarding dental care often perpetuate these fears. Not every bit of gossip you hear is valid, so Tompkins dental rounded up the six most common dental myths we hear from our patients and debunked them for you.
Kids Get More Cavities Than Adults
Many adults think of kids when they think of cavities. However, adults are not in the clear when it comes to tooth decay, and your age does not exempt you from the risk of developing cavities. Senior citizens, in particular, are at a higher risk of developing cavities, in large part due to certain medications that are known to cause dry mouth and reduce saliva. The rate of cavities in children has also decreased significantly over the past few decades, thanks to the addition of fluoride in many public water systems.
Eating Sugar is What Causes Cavities
You’ve likely heard this one since you were a kid. The reality is that it isn’t the amount of sugar a child (or adult) eats that is the problem, but instead how long the sugar stays on your teeth.
Significant sugar consumption isn’t the only thing that causes tooth decay either. In fact, the actual cause of tooth decay is acid that is produced by bacteria in the mouth. Sugar, starches, and other types of carbohydrates that you eat provide fuel for the acid-producing bacteria in your mouth. This information doesn’t mean that you have to avoid sugar entirely. Just be sure to brush your teeth 30-60 minutes after indulging in your favorite sweets and starches.
A Sensitive Tooth Means You Have a Cavity
Experiencing tooth sensitivity is one of the most common dental issues we hear from patients. Many make emergency appointments with their dentist because they think they have a cavity, but this is not always the case. While tooth decay can cause sensitivity, there are many other common reasons why your teeth might be extra sensitive to hot or cold temperatures.
Common reasons for tooth sensitivity include:
- Teeth grinding or clenching
- Gum recession
- Worn enamel
- Aggressive brushing
If Your Teeth Are White, They’re Also Healthy
White teeth are beautiful, but that doesn’t always mean they’re healthy. Teeth can be white and also be full of cavities or infections between them. Additionally, over-whitening your teeth can cause other dental issues.
Brushing Is More Important Than Flossing
Most patients commit to brushing their teeth twice a day but fall short on the daily flossing recommendation. However, they’re actually skipping the most vital portion of cleaning the teeth. Cavities are more likely to develop between the teeth in spots that are difficult to reach with a toothbrush. Flossing isn’t just an extra step to add to your oral hygiene routine when you remember or have the time. It should be an essential piece of your everyday oral care routine.
No Pain No Problems
Cavities aren’t always painful. Many patients who do not visit the dentist regularly could still have cavities even if they are not experiencing any discomfort. Experiencing pain in a tooth is typically a sign that a cavity has grown to a larger size. Visiting the dentist regularly, every six months, allows your dentist to catch and treat cavities before they have the chance to become a painful problem.
Tompkins Dental can help you answer any questions you have and give you the real facts for optimal dental health. Call us today to schedule your springtime exam.